While most people find writing, step one, to be the biggest hurdle, for me it’s always been editing.
(Though now as I write that I realize, as I’ve never been past step two, it’s hard to say if that’s really the “hardest” step for me. But no matter.)
Editing is essentially what I have been doing, non-stop, for the past month. For me, editing means I need to turn my draft from something likely fun and haphazard, into something cohesive. In the past this hasn’t interested me much. Mostly because when I get the jist of my novel down, I feel fulfilled. I’ve more or less described and created something and that is my main joy. Editing takes that joy and qualifies it, which isn’t always a pretty picture.
Still, this story in particular seemed to me both fun and valuable. I felt like I had something entertaining and, potentially, meaningful to say. For the most part, too, I had done a pretty good job of getting it all down correctly. For a NaNoWriMo novel it flowed pretty well.
So, over the last month I have been spending, on most days, at least a couple hours at my computer methodically going chapter by chapter. Reading and re-reading. I made slight edits such as taking out extra adverbs (so easy to write with during NaNo but often useless) to changing certain plot points entirely. It’s resulted in a re-write of chapter one at least a dozen times. But now, finally, I’m down to my last 30 pages.
If you saw my blog entry from a couple days ago you’ll know I “finished.” I filled in that last hole, I wrote that last word that, for me, qualified a whole story. It wasn’t done in that I was never going to change anything again, but it was done in that I had finally made something wholly cohesive.
Since those last couple of days I have re-read my story at a higher level, more like a true reader, catching any last glaring errors. This will be my last solely me evaluation. I know this because tonight I put the call out to my facebook friends – who wants to read what I wrote?
I’m leaving on vacation on Tuesday. My goal tomorrow is to have my last 30 pages edited by me so I can say my novel is now as complete as I can get it without outside voices. I’ll give three or four people my novel to read over the next two weeks. Then, at their suggestions, I’ll edit again.
Rinse and repeat!
Man, I like this part.